Virginia Commonwealth (16-5) at Rhode Island (6-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 30, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ryan Center (7,657) -- Kingston, Rhode Island. Television: None. Home Record: VCU 10-2, URI 4-5. Away Record: VCU 5-1, URI 2-5. Neutral Record: VCU 1-2, URI 0-2. Conference Record: VCU 4-2, URI 1-4. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Commonwealth Rams will try to halt a two-game losing streak on Wednesday night when they travel to Kingston for an Atlantic 10 Conference bout with the Rhode Island Rams.
Following a lengthy 13-game winning streak, VCU was able to rise all the way to No. 19 in the AP poll, but it promptly fell from the ranks after a pair of losses last week at Richmond (84-74 in OT) and at home against La Salle (69-61). The setbacks haven't dampened its season too much however, as it still sits with a 16-5 record, including a 4-2 mark in the A-10.
URI has also been sliding of late with losses in four of its last five games, most recently falling at Fordham last Saturday, 66-63. Unlike VCU however, URI's disappointments have been fairly sustained through the season, as it boasts a lackluster 6-12 overall record, and its 1-4 mark in league play ranks only above winless Duquesne in the conference standings.
These newly-formed conference rivals have met just four times previously, and the series is tied at 2-2.
VCU trailed by nine at the half versus La Salle, and even though it came out of the gates firing in the second half with a 17-0 run, it lost control of the contest once again down the stretch. Juvonte Reddic was fantastic despite the setback, logging his sixth double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Treveon Graham also had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, Troy Daniels netted 11 points, and Darius Theus dished out six assists and logged three steals. The past two games not withstanding, VCU has had no issues scoring the basketball this season, ranking 17th in the nation in pouring in 78.1 ppg. Graham is the team's top scorer, putting up 16.0 ppg and adding 6.0 rpg for good measure. Reddic is a steady producer in the frontcourt with 14.2 ppg (on 57.7 percent from the field) and 8.0 rpg, and Daniels (12.2 ppg) is one of the most active 3-point shooters in the nation, making 3.7 triples per contest. Rounding out the double-digit scorers is Rob Bradenberg (10.8 ppg), and Theus is a stellar floor general with 4.8 apg.
Rhode Island took a 63-62 lead with 1:45 left in its game against Fordham on a T.J. Buchanan 3-pointer, but those were the last points it would score as Fordham drained 4-of-4 from the foul line down the stretch to capture the win. URI was able to keep the game close by putting together a solid 21-of-30 showing from the foul line, but its performance from the field (18-of-47) and 3-point range (6-of-24) was not up to snuff. Mike Powell had 14 points in the loss, Andre Malone had 12 points, and Nikola Malesevic, Xavier Munford and Buchanan all chipped in 10 points. The squad has mustered solid play at the defensive end of the court, yielding an average of 64.5 ppg. Unfortunately, it has not been able to take advantage on offense, ranking last in the A-10 in scoring at just 61.7 ppg. Munford is able to transcend his team's poor play by netting 17.4 ppg, although he does so on just 40.4 percent shooting. Malesevic (11.0 ppg), Malone (10.6 ppg) and Powell (10.2 ppg) are all solid as well, but URI doesn't boast much depth, as its next five highest scorers combine for only 14.0 ppg.
If URI has ever had an opportunity to knock off VCU, it would be in this contest on its home floor against a reeling squad. That said, VCU shouldn't have much of an issue bouncing back against one of the A-10's worst teams.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Commonwealth 75, Rhode Island 62
01/30 10:36:09 ET